Ep. 4: Jayel Lamont and Feza Lugoma with Keegan Prempeh

Episode 4 February 20, 2023 00:36:34
Ep. 4: Jayel Lamont and Feza Lugoma with Keegan Prempeh
To Be Continued: Troubling the Archive
Ep. 4: Jayel Lamont and Feza Lugoma with Keegan Prempeh

Feb 20 2023 | 00:36:34

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Hosted By

Anna Shah Hoque

Show Notes

Episode 4 features guest producer Keegan Prempeh with guests Jayel Lamont and Feza Lugoma in a conversation exploring their relationships with Blackness, artistic expression and belonging.  

The discussion is gratefully guided by the words of authors James Baldwin and Sobonfu Somé. Listen in as they trace the intricacies of creativity, diaspora identity and connection to community. 

Credits: Season 3 graphic created by Hunter Dewache. Custom intro / outro sounds created by Bucko aka Chris Binkowski. Podcast editing is by Fin-xuan. This season of To Be Continued: Troubling the Archive is generously funded by a Digital Now grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.  

Participants:  

Keegan Prempeh is a Black, non-binary Sagittarius sun on a journey of self-discovery, radical transformation and healing. Xe practices xer art on Anishinaabe territory via music, dance and storytelling. Guided by womanism, collectivism and the pursuit of social justice, Keegan hopes to foster meaningful connections to build community. 

IG @wefallforever 

Feza Lugoma is a visual artist born in Kinshasa, DR Congo, and raised in Edmonton. The work includes photography, film and sound. Whether through art or community organizing, Feza’s work is a meditation on the daily experiences of Africans within the Canadian context, exploring experiences of migration, memory and Kinship. She draws inspiration from her Congolese heritage, incorporating archival material such as photographs, video and audio sources. You can check out their work at molimostudio.com.  

IG: @_fe.za_ 

Jayel Lamont: MusicbyJayel is a DJ and producer in the process of making a mark on the music scene near you with their many talents. Sharing their passion for music with others, MusicbyJayel loves to mix open format, touching on genres from around the world. With the use of long blends, edits from the globe, and a splash of your favourite songs, you’ll find the perfect mix of genres such as Amapiano, Hip Hop, EDM, Dancehall, UKG Dubs and more. Jayel just celebrated the release of their first edit pack, “Winter Solstice,” now available on Bandcamp, with more heat to come. 

IG: @musicbyjayel 

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:12 Welcome to season three of to be Continued troubling the Archive. In this episode, guest host Keegan Pree chats with JL Lamont and Fazel La Goma. They talk about their relationship with blackness, artistic expression and belonging. The discussion is guided by the words of authors James Baldwin and Saban Fume join this important conversation on the intricacies of creativity, Dias identity and connections to community. Speaker 2 00:00:39 Hi everyone. I'm so happy to welcome you to this episode of the To Be Continued podcast. My name is Keegan PreK. My pronouns are they, them or zr. And I'll be the host for today's session. Um, and I have two other guests here with me who I'm really excited to introduce. But before I do that, I'll just tell you a little bit more about myself. Um, and so, um, my family is from Ghana and West Africa. That's where both my parents were born and raised, and that's where, um, my family is from. And I was born in Lenape territory. I'm more closely known as Philadelphia. Um, and then I've moved to different places in Turtle Island since then. And currently I'm living in Odawa. Um, I moved here to do my Bachelor of Social Work, um, in 2013. And really, um, in that time I really learned, got to learn more about community, got to learn more about my place in the world, um, and what it meant to exist as like a black queer and trans person <unk> descent living here in the city. Speaker 2 00:01:34 Um, and so in, during or through these times, I've been able to have really neat opportunities where I've been able to talk to other black queer and trans people in the city about their experiences, about the art they do, about the kind of things that they bring to the world. And today, you know, when I, or when I was offered the opportunity to have a conversation around belonging, longing, identity and memory in the context of like art and black art, I was like, this is so good and timely, really great for me, really healing for me. And so I really jumped at the opportunity. And, uh, I have two guests here today who I will let introduce themselves. Za, you can go first. Speaker 3 00:02:11 Hi, uh, I am Za. I use Day Sheep Pronouns. Uh, and uh, I was born in Congo and was raised there for part of my childhood. And then my parents moved to Canada. Um, and I was raised in Edmonton, Alberta. Yeah. And then now I, I am in to Toronto, which is Toronto. Um, and I spent a little bit of time in Ottawa, uh, and Montreal. Uh, I am an artist and also a birth worker. Uh, so I, the medium that I usually use is visual, so photography, but I dabble a little bit in, uh, sound, so DJing, producing, and yeah, I just, I, I don't believe, you know, I don't believe in genres or any type of like art specifically, like boxing you in. Um, I just believe in creating and being able to practice anything, whether it's with my hands or just in general, like creatively. Speaker 2 00:03:27 Yeah. And who's a black artist that you're feeling inspired by these days? Speaker 3 00:03:32 Ooh, I mean, there's a lot of black artists, but, uh, specific black artists that really inspires me is this Congolese artist called, uh, Ji. And he mostly, uh, I guess he, you would say he's like a rapper. Yeah, he does a lot of like, poetry and I really just enjoy how visually he also does like very poetic films and very like, uh, vibrant, um, images and just using a lot of like, masks and just like, uh, Congolese history in order to, um, yeah, I guess like speak more on his heritage and also on his heritage as a someone who's grown up in the diaspora. Um, but other than that, I'm like, you know, I'm a big fan of a lot of the local artists, um, that are in Ottawa and Toronto and Montreal. I call it the trifecta cuz people be always like moving. So, you know, I'm a big fan of j uh, I'm a big fan of like, um, there's like Jian, um, who takes amazing photos and, uh, Royal Del also, I, I enjoy their like, photography. Speaker 3 00:04:48 Just being able to showcase, um, a community that I feel like we see every day. Well, like, it's people that I know and I just enjoy that people are able to capture them in such a bright light. Um, yeah, I, I feel like there's too many specifically like locally and I just feel like I'm really feeling like, specifically recently that, yeah, I, I'm seeing a lot of people working together. A lot of like, um, different like DJs in, in the community that are like DJing together, organizing parties together, um, and just doing work together. So yeah, I'm, I'm very much like, I'm, I'm happy to see that. And, um, I hope it like, keeps growing bigger. Like I'm just enjoying the energy that, uh, I'm seeing right now in, in the queer art scene, like queer black art scene. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:05:43 Nice. Thank you so much. Okay. Jl, time for you to introduce yourself. Speaker 4 00:05:50 <laugh>. Hello. Hi, my name's jl. Um, I am a producer DJ in the city. Um, I was unfortunately, I guess born and raised here in Ottawa, um, <laugh> and I still live here, uh, for now, but hopefully <laugh> in the next couple years I'm gonna, you know, make the scary steps and, you know, explore the world or something. Um, but yeah, I'm a DJ producer in the city here. Um, I'm blessed to also work with organizations like, you know, pass the vibe and produced by youth who are doing amazing things for black youth and Bipo in the city here as well. Um, and yeah, I think that's pretty much about me, Speaker 2 00:06:24 <laugh> great. And yeah. Who's a black artist who you're feeling inspired by these days? Speaker 4 00:06:29 Ooh, that's a good question. Yeah. Um, I guess like on a big scale, people, people who might know, like I'm always inspired by Little Lost X and how he kinda took over the game. He's out there killing it, like the stallion as well. She's out there doing everything snl. I don't really watch talks like snl, but I really pay attention to my stallions cause I was like, she's really doing it. She's being authentic and just like, you know, spreading good messages. I feel like so shouts to her. Um, but also was saying lots of like local artists too, like, or local DJs I've been following, especially out in Toronto. Um, Babi Youngish and, you know, hang out. Those people are all just absolutely killing it and making these amazing communities, um, and fostering these beautiful spaces for especially black people in these cities. But also, you know, I'm fan of yours as well. Um, you know, it's less <inaudible> and yeah, no, Speaker 2 00:07:22 Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. And obviously I'm super inspired by both of you, <laugh>, which is why I asked you here today to talk more about your experiences, you know, as members of the diaspora as black folk, you know, it's not always, you know, it's not always an easy life, you know, some, sometimes, you know, things can feel real hard and it's, you know, at least for me it's important to connect with other black folk, especially the queer, trans black folk in these times of struggle when things, you know, don't feel easy and, you know, talk about things that are rejuvenating for us and that bring us joy. Um, and before we get into it, I'd be remiss to not mention that I'm coming to you folks right now from Odawa, which is the unseated and unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin Nation. And so, you know, for me, when I think about belonging, um, in memory, you know, obviously I think about the historical legacies of where I am and where I've been and how colonialism has affected that. Speaker 2 00:08:19 Um, and you know, the reason that, you know, I live in this city and I'm here in this city instead of Ghana, where my family is from is because of colonialism. And so, you know, I think it's really important for us to ground ourselves in the reality of like, this is land that is not ours and that has been forcibly taken so that, you know, we can have quote unquote opportunities or, um, you know, so that we can have certain types of infrastructure, um, you know, which isn't nec which doesn't necessarily align with how the people of this land have historically taken care of it. Um, and so, yeah, I just wanted to mention that before we get started. And so the first question that I have for my two guests here, and it really is just a casual conversation where I wanna hear their thoughts in the matter. Um, but the first question is, how does your identity influence your art? And of course, your art takes many forms and maybe sometimes how your identity influences your art in one type of space or one form does it apply in another? But I'd just love to hear from either of you, um, for both of you, how your identity influences your art. Speaker 3 00:09:21 I think my identity, um, so as a black queer person, um, I would say, um, influences my art a lot. Um, because one, I enjoy just taking photos of the people who are around me and often that is black people. Um, I want to be able to capture, um, just moments that black people have with each other that has, um, essentially nothing to do with, uh, pain or yeah, just the reality and not necessarily something that fits within what we quote unquote know as like, yeah. As like, what is the, the black experience. Um, and so it's just like I, yeah, I just really believe that, um, the most beautiful moments are just like mundane moments that we have, um, with each other and that we co-create with each other. And I wanna be able to capture that in my photos. And so that means like, just like kinship and like friendship and, um, just all the different ways that we connect to, to each other. Speaker 3 00:10:39 Uh, and when it comes to, to music, uh, yes. Like I think the thing the definitely my being Congolese has like, definitely, uh, informed, um, my music taste and like how I like the sounds that I'm attracted to and the sounds that I put together. And that is something that is constant. And also just growing up as a Congolese person, just, um, being like dancing and coming together around music has, is something that is like ingrained in us. And it is also just, it's something that I've, like some of my earliest me memories are pretty much like having my parents organizing parties or watching my parents like organ dance with their homies and like, you know, organize parties and like re like be young and like share love, um, together around music and whatnot. And so yeah, those memories and those moments with black people is essentially what informs, um, my art and why I do it. Speaker 2 00:11:48 Thank you so much. How about you j? Uh, yeah. Speaker 4 00:11:52 Um, how identity influences my art? That's a good question as well. I wanted to forgot to say earlier. I'm Jamaican and Cuban, um, so I'm Caribbean and I think that, um, especially also being a, you know, queer, non-binary trans person, um, it kind of informs my identity in the way that I choose who to, you know, I guess prioritize in spaces that I want to create. Um, you know what I mean? I'm really big on trying to foster community and make sure people who look like me have a place to go where they feel safe and not judged and they can go and just dance. And I feel like take up space as well. It's a big thing. Just take up space and be who they're, and not feel like, you know, people are watching or doing stuff. So, yeah. And in similar ways just, um, you know, being Jamaican and Caribbean, um, I've been able to attract, to attract to sounds and attract the songs to play in my sets that come from back home. And just, you know, listening to my parents play reggae, especially reggae gospel growing up, um, hearing sounds that sound similar, I wanna always put that out in the world, you know? Mm-hmm. Speaker 2 00:12:48 <affirmative>. Yeah, I can, yeah. I feel like, you know, our parents really do influence kind of like our music tastes, and it's where we kind of get a sense of like what music is and how we relate to it. And I think it can be so beautiful and certainly for me, like music is, um, I guess one of my passions of art or something that I, you know, that I find really deeply cause to my soul and has, I think has really deep called to my family over generations. And it's like such a blessing for me to be able to, you know, inherit this gift, um, of music and song. And it's really beautiful. And, you know, when I even think about the topic of memory, to me it's calls to, or it speaks to kind of a journey that I've been on more recently, which is learning more about, um, African traditional religions and ancestral reverence as practices, which, you know, fellows who don't know really is a, um, kind of like a modality or kind of approach to spirituality that talk that acknowledges, um, your predecessors, your answers. Speaker 2 00:13:46 So like your parents parents or like, you know, not necessarily even people who are biologically related to you, but people who, you know, would want the best for you, who are part of your general wider community. Um, and really maintaining that appreciation and regular acknow and regular acknowledgement of their presence in your life. Um, and, you know, one of the, um, texts or things that I, you know, as I was doing my research into this kind of, um, understanding of the world, one of the texts that I read was by, uh, SA Bon Fume who za actually, uh, put me on tour, which was very great. Um, and so I'm gonna read an excerpt from her book, welcoming Spirit Home, ancient African Teachings to Celebrate Children in Community. So the community concept is based on the fact that each person is invaluable and truly irreplaceable. Each person has a gift to give, a contribution to make to the whole, the kind of gift the person brings, the kind of being a person is, is very unique to them and is valued by the community. When we are separate, we are vulnerable and are more likely to underestimate the self being in community forces us to cultivate a deeper sense of intimacy with one another, to notice one another and value each other's gifts. And so I'd love to hear from you folks, how do you define community and belonging? Speaker 4 00:15:11 That's a big question. <laugh>, I feel like I would, I would describe community. I'm thinking about places where I've felt where like I belonged, you know what I mean? And I feel like it comes from, for me, um, I felt like I belong most in places where I feel supported, where I feel like everyone has my best interest, um, on mine. Maybe it's not their first priority, of course, because they have their own needs and stuff, but they also are like, Hey, you know, you're a person that's part of this group and I also wanna see you succeed. Um, and maybe it's because we're working to a common goal. Like, I'm thinking of like, you know, when I used to play competitive basketball when I was bit younger, um, I felt like I belonged on my team, you know what I mean? We were all working towards a common goal, which was, you know, winning a championship or winning the game if it was on a smaller scale. Um, so yeah, just feeling like a place where I feel like we all have, um, someone has, I guess, you know, my best interest in mind and we're possibly all working to work together to do something great. Speaker 3 00:16:08 <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:16:08 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. That makes a lot of sense. How about you, FEA Speaker 3 00:16:14 Completely. Like, I completely agree with you, jda uh, specifically, like, I, I think even the common goal part is really interesting because, um, even just having a common goal that like, we want this to survive, we want our bonds to survive, we want our connections to survive. I think that like, already, like, when you come together with that in mind, I think it changes the ways in which, uh, you all relate to, to each other, right? Um, and, and I think for community is being able to be like to, I wanna be committed to these connections and that means that, um, yeah, like that there is an acknowledgement that we may hurt each other, we may misunderstand each other, um, we may feel, um, misunderstood, um, by someone within like, but essentially it is a commitment, um, to the connections, um, that we have and the reason why, um, we connect with each other. Speaker 3 00:17:24 And that may mean that like we need to take a moment as space, but knowing that, um, essentially the root of the connection is one that is, um, I don't know, like, yeah, like going back to the reason why, um, we connected and not so much on like the conflicts. And um, that's something that I, I'm, I'm learning a lot, um, in terms of like what it means to, yeah, what it means to really create, uh, co-create com, uh, community, um, and co-creating spaces where, um, I feel like I belong and that others who are around me also, um, feel like they belong. And it's that it's just acknowledge, it's ano acknowledging that there will be conflicts, but how are we, um, willing to do the repair? And I guess like, the part that makes me feel like I belong or that I'm part of a community is that there is, there's, there is hope for repair and that people have an intention. Like they, yeah, they have a intention to, to come to the table with the idea that like, yes, there may be a conflict, but ultimately we're, our goal is to maintain our connection and to repair. Speaker 2 00:18:51 Yeah. What you're saying, you know, really what both of you have said really talk, you know, really reminds me of, you know, kind of the values or things that I understand to be the values of like, transformative justice or, you know, talking about restorative justice to the idea that, you know, all of us are, you know, we're flawed people, we are imperfect and all of us have different needs, um, and different considerations that need to be taken into account. And that just by nature of human, just by nature of like relating, there's going to be conflicts. Sometimes there's going to be times where we step on each other's toes or maybe we're being insensitive or maybe we don't even recognize that we're being insensitive. Um, and that as a community we've came together for a particular purpose. Maybe it's because, you know, we want to raise our kids together, or we want to create music together, or we want to, you know, run a school together, open a shop together, whatever it is, we have something that we want to be here for. Speaker 2 00:19:43 And so we have to work together to come to a common ground or find a way to acknowledge both of our needs and operate ways that feel good, mutually good to both of us with the understanding that we're gonna get it wrong sometimes. And ideally we would have processes in place ahead of time that tell us how we should inter like, you know, that should give us an idea of like how we interact and what we like, you know, how we move together in times of conflict or in times of distress. And actually I think I would, you know, bonus question that I didn't flag with y'all earlier, but I'm feeling inspired now, so we're just rolling with it, is like, how, like, you know, to how do you process your emotions in your art? Like how does your emotional wellbeing come into like the way that you produce your art or the way that you share your art? Just cause I think, you know, when we talk about artists activism, I think the power that comes with this, cuz art can evoke such emotion in us and it can bring people together and for, to make positive change or to bring attention to an issue or to give voice to people who maybe didn't have it before whose voice was silenced actually. Um, but yeah. Yeah. What is, like what, how does that look, how does that like interaction look like when you're in terms of processing your emotions in your art? Speaker 3 00:20:57 So the process of creating is, for me, just a moment where I can just be in the moment. And I think it, it, it just helps me sort of slow down. It just really helps me just slow down. Cause I can often just get wrapped up in my brain like, and in my thoughts and kind of just, um, keep going. And I think that is like, that is also the hardest part about the process of creating is that you have to sit down and you sometimes have to force yourself to, to sit down and, and just, and and be like, be with the work. Like, you know, learning, whether it is learning how to DJ or learning, like doing collages and stuff. Um, the part of practicing and continuously doing it, um, I think it really humbles you and I am learning about what it means to let the work humble you. Speaker 3 00:22:08 And that then teaches you a lot around like also how you relate to, to others and the different things that may happen in your life. Like, yes, there, you know, like, you may have gotten it wrong. You may feel upset, you may feel frustrated, but how do you get back to, to the place and decide to like, keep working at it? How, yeah, how do you like, pick yourself up and keep working at it and keep practicing and keep yeah, just try, keep trying. And I think that art, um, and creativity is just a place where I, yeah, I learn a lot about making mistakes and being humbled and not letting it, that it, it's not, that's not all that you are. So those mistakes, those like bad moments or when you mess up, that's not all that you are. And for example, DJing is something like, it's that, it's a practice that taught me this a lot because you essentially are often li like, yes, you may have prepared a set, but you're kind of live mixing it with people there. Speaker 3 00:23:18 And so you may know your mistakes, um, but often people don't realize it and like, and you just, yeah, you, you mess up and you move on, you know, like you move on, it's okay, right? <laugh>, uh, and you gotta have the courage to come back in front of people and be like, yeah. And I think for example, um, sorry for putting you on the spot jail, but, uh, yeah, I remember Gerald DJing, like some of their first parties and now like, I remember one time like, I think recently when I was in Toronto and uh, you were DJing, I, I was like, wow, okay. We're, we're on a different level now, huh? We, we see has elevated and yeah, we're on the, and like, I, I enjoy that cuz I know that it must, there must have been so many moments of feeling frustrated, of feeling humbled, of like playing a set after someone who you're like, damn, they played such a great set and Yeah, am I going to, you know what I mean? And <laugh>. Yeah. And so I, I admire that in other artists and it's something that I'm, I'm definitely like learning like how to let the work humble you, but then you keep going. So. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:24:38 Right. How about you Jill? I'd love to hear more about how your emotions and your art kind of interact or interplay. Like thinking about the ways that, you know, we can use art to make change and that so much of change comes from an emotion first, you know, feeling really sad about what they feel really angry about something and deciding to do it. So I'm curious if you like what kind of, what's the relationship between your art and your emotions? Speaker 4 00:25:04 Yeah, no, that's real. I feel like, um, my art, whenever I feel like I'm also an artist that hasn't released anything. One of those artists that has all this stuff that they're sleeping on for sure <laugh>, um, and I think that <laugh>, um, it's because it feels very vulnerable to share. Like, you know what I mean? I feel like in the process, like kind of Facebook was saying, when you're creating, you are being so humbled. And also just for me personally, I have to like really face my emotions in that moment. I'm like writing these things down and I'm really making something that feels so, um, like inside of me, so tangible, you know what I mean? I'm taking these feelings and these thoughts and making something, uh, hopefully beautiful out of it, but also it could be very bad. You never know, you know what I mean? Speaker 4 00:25:42 So <laugh>, it's just, uh, the process of like really being like, okay, this is something that's, you know, my real, these are real feelings. And then also having to listen to it over and over again while you go through these mistakes and kinda learn how to do it yourself, you know? So I feel like it's a very, very, it's a tough experience. And also for me, it's why I don't release a lot of things is because, um, I'm very like a perfectionist when it comes to things, you know, <laugh>. So I'm just like, I want sound perfect and be perfect. But these emotions and stuff, they're very raw, they're not perfect. And knowth, I've and it Speaker 2 00:26:26 You so much. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me. And certainly, you know, I can relate to both of, to what you're saying in that, you know, art is so vulnerable, putting yourself out there, letting people judge or like, you know, cuz inherently by putting yourself out there, people are gonna judge you. Like I really respect anybody who can get up on a stage or, you know, pick up a guitar or, you know, whatever it is. Or just even start an Instagram page for your art, whatever it is. Like, it takes so much courage and bravery and I really think it's art is something, especially black queer and trans art, like that's stuff that needs to be out there, that needs to be published. Like even if it isn't perfect. And I'm definitely have a lot of perfectionist traits too. We're working on it, you know, we're trying to tell, I'm trying to tell inner Keegan that it's okay to not be perfect. Speaker 2 00:27:11 That's okay to make mistakes. So it's definitely a work in progress. But yeah, I definitely wanna, you know, really commend both of you for, you know, for being vulnerable in this regard and sharing so much of yourself and your passion through your art with us. We really appreciate it. And so, you know, this is kind of, we're coming towards the end of the conversation now and we've talked a lot about like, you know, we've talked about our identity, we've talked about where we come from and how it influences us, how we relate to our people and our memory. And so obviously because of colonization, so many of us have been, um, separated from our communities. We, you know, maybe we don't speak our local indigenous languages or, you know, we haven't seen family members or we never met family members or, you know, we, the way we see the world and go about the world is very different from our family members who maybe grew up in different places in geographic areas. And so I'm curious, like, given this like separation that we face as a community, especially as black queer and trans people who, you know, ha also contend with transphobia and homophobia in our communities, what steps can we take to reclaim our lineages, especially in the context of art? Speaker 4 00:28:22 I feel like one step I'm taking, um, you know, like I said earlier, I'm Jamaican and it feels like, um, well, it's true that Jamaica can, you know, be very, uh, homophobic and transp and all these things. So I feel like one thing I'm trying to do is just like, push myself to take up space in, in places where I can, or honestly just make my own spaces, have my own dance hall parties, you know what I mean? Like listen to my own like Reagan music and you know, and, and kind of create spaces where I feel like people that look like me and, and you know, can, can come to, um, and also just making my own traditions, taking what I know of or just doing my own research and, um, you know, making my traditions with my friends or my chosen family might not be related to me. Um, and yeah, I have one example, um, is that I'm also Cuban, um, on my grandpa's side and we don't know a whole lot about that family, but I'm just like, ok, this is a part of my own lineage and these ancestors are part of my line, even though I might never know them, I'm still going to like, get tattoos in Spanish and try to learn the language and just kind do my own, you know, research that hasn't been taught to me, um, or passed out to my parents. Speaker 2 00:29:27 That's beautiful. How about you za? Speaker 3 00:29:33 Yeah, that's, it's such a complex question, um, because I find like we, we are continuously, um, obviously looking for home or like, um, belongings. Um, and one thing that I've had to learn as someone who was raised in a country and then moved here is like, and it took me a long time to, to get to this point, um, but essentially I'm Congolese, I'm black, and no one can take that away from me. It, there's no amount of me not being in Congo that will remove that away from me, that will take that away from me no matter how anyone in what it means for someone in their head. Like, what is a Congolese person? Like, I don't fit in that. But we all know that Congolese have been leaving Congo for many, many years because of, uh, conflict, um, and because of colonialism. And so that means that like where I am, wherever I am, I am creating a home as a Congolese I am, that is part of Congo that is like, like I am constantly, like this is a continuation of my lineage. Speaker 3 00:30:59 This is a continuation of like my, um, my, my ancestors. Like they would never have thought that like they would have like, yeah, I guess like defendants who would live in this country. Um, but here we are. And for me it's just like, I, I find it super important that people like us being authentic to who we are in the spaces that we are and in the experiences that we are, is actually a continuation and is a way of also reclaiming, um, yeah, just like the history and like what it means to, to be here. There's a reason why I'm here and like, um, I have a responsibility to be able to live out this life, um, as honestly as possible right here where I am. And I, and sometimes I know that like we want to grasp at these like traditions and all these things, and sometimes it's like you, you don't have access to it, but, um, who you are as a, as a black person, um, is valid and there's no way to be able to be more authentic than what you are right now. Speaker 3 00:32:24 Um, for me, more specifically, um, how I reclaim and how I, um, I'm trying to reclaim like a lot of like my history. Like, I mean, I was born in Congo, so a lot of the things that like, I know and like, and a lot of the things that I use are also things that I've like experienced or that I know. Um, and that, and yeah, and I, I just like, for me, it's important to continue to build relationships with like, people in my family who, uh, are raised in Congo and who are still living there and con and having a relationship with them. And not so much as like, oh, like you live in Congo, I live in Canada. But no more like, okay, like what does it mean to, to grow up in a country like Congo? Like what does it mean to, to be able, like, yeah, what what does it mean? And I wanna know that about my cousins, I wanna know that about my family and whatnot. And just like, and not necessarily taking it as my experience, but just being able to share and, and relate I guess. Um, and, and for me, all those things, all those conversations actually inform, inform my art. And it's also a way of being able to like, yeah, to to remember. Speaker 2 00:33:50 Yeah. Thank you so much. And you know, I'm just, I'm super, super grateful. I've had the opportunity to talk to both of you and I'm, you know, I wanna say I'm grateful to your ancestors for bringing you here today and for, you know, allowing me the, give me the privilege of knowing you and being able to witness your art. Um, and I think so much of how we, you know, honor our legacies and where we come from is by sharing those stories. And we can do that, you know, in our music, we can do that in our photography, in our pottery, even just, you know, the clothes that we wear and the words that we use. I think it's, you know, there are so many ways that we can honor where we have come from and, you know, anybody listening here today, I really encourage you to honor where you come from and your experiences because of everything you have. Speaker 2 00:34:33 Like your, everything that has brought you to here today, you know, has merit importance because you have marad importance. And so this, so those are stories that I'd really encourage you to share, especially if you're a black, queer and trans person. Cuz you know, this world can make us feel so horrible about ourselves. Like our stories aren't worth sharing. Like, we're bad people, but there's so much beauty in our community, and honestly, our art is good. It's good like facts. I'm, I'm looking at the material and it's, it's giving, it's giving to me. So I really hope you all continue to give to the world. And I'm gonna just end us off with a quote from James Baldwin from j um, just above my head, and it says, if one wishes to be instructed concerning the treacherous role that memory plays in a human life, consider how relentlessly the water of memory refuses to break, how it impedes that journey into the air of time. Speaker 2 00:35:26 Beneath the face of anyone you ever love for true, anyone you love, you will always love. Love is not the mercy of time and it does not recognize death. There are strangers to each other beneath the face of the beloved. However, ancient, ruined and scarred is the face of the baby. Your love once was and will always be for you. Love serves then if memory doesn't in passion, apart from its tense relation to agony, labor is beneath the shadow of death. Thank you everybody, and I'm wish you all a good farewell from wherever you are. Thanks Speaker 1 00:36:04 To be continued troubling. The Archive is hosted and produced by Anna Sha Hawk. Technical support for the show comes through from Finn's Sun. A major thanks goes to Hunter Dee for their wonderful work in creating the logo for the series. The Intro and Outdoor Commission works by artist Chris Bukowski. The show would not be possible without the support of Qag and the Can Council for the Arts Digital Now Grant.

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